Daddy Bluebird picking up a Mealworm
Monday evening I was looking out the kitchen window wondering where Mommy Bluebird was. Daddy Bluebird was on the fence but I hadn’t seen Mommy. It is pretty unusual to not see them both, especially in the last month.
You see, we have 2 Bluebird nest boxes in our yard. There’s one out by the garden and another outside the kitchen window. We’ve had them for years and have watched a number of generations of Bluebirds move through the houses. Last year House Finches moved in, even though we tried hard to stop them. We pulled out the nest (their nests are very messy and easy to tell apart from a Bluebird nest) and we would scare them away anytime we saw them. Basically anything we could do to discourage them. So we were thrilled a couple months ago when the Bluebirds showed an interest in the nest box again. We made sure it was clean and ready for them, and we continued to put out Mealworms.
We’ve been feeding them at least once a day, sometimes more and Daddy has been really good about taking the mealworms to Mommy, even if she’s standing right next to him at the feeder. And they’ve gotten really good about letting us stand near them when we put out the food.
Daddy Bluebird feeding Mommy
So, there I was at the kitchen window….I asked Ken when he saw Mommy Bluebird last and he said he’d seen her Monday morning. So I hoped things were ok, but I had a bad feeling. Tuesday morning Daddy was sitting on the gazebo so I went out to feed him. Tuesday night, still no Mommy. Now I was seriously worried. Amazing how attached one can get to a wild bird.
Wednesday Ken and I went out and checked the nest – we won’t open the box unless we absolutely have to because of course we don’t want to disturb the birds – the nest was definitely a Bluebird nest. But there weren’t any eggs in it. Then Ken looked down and there were the eggs…..on the ground under the nest box.
Bluebird eggs on the ground
I wanted to cry (but I didn’t).
We'd just brought out mealworms and Daddy Bluebird had his beak stuffed full – but he wasn’t eating them. He just stood on the fence with a bristly face full of bugs for a couple minutes. Totally unlike him. He’s usually flying here and there, or putting his head in the nest to feed Mommy. Instead he’s here with Ken and I, looking lost. I think we’re all sad.
There’s nothing we can do, of course. Except continue to keep putting food out for him. Maybe he’ll find another mate (but I thought I’d read somewhere that they mate for life, or at least for a long time) and show her the cool house with full room service and it’ll win her over. But it’s probably too late for this season.
Instead we’ll spend time shooing away the Finches (they’re really pushing hard to move in already – the eggs were barely cold) and hope that the Phoebes move into the new nest boxes we put up for them under the eaves. (Ken’s Dad made us two Phoebe nests and they’re installed according to the book we got about different nest locations.)
RIP Mommy Bluebird